Sunday, February 21, 2021

Progress update on foreground scenery experiments and mockups

This is the first three weeks of February's progress on the Port Costa Station, freight house and section house corner.

The ground cover is now coming into shape with the foam base, ivory paint with a touch of mustard yellow and fine sanded grout for texture to represent the color of the ground in this corner of Port Costa.  The tree in front of the corner is temporary as the real tree was not a fruit tress and the station is in another stage of a mockup.  

The newest addition is a first attempt at the three bollards in front of the walkway at the non-track side of the station (not really the back of the station.) They were placed here to prevent anyone trying to drive onto the platform. Critical as the section house would house track gangs and other single employees who might arrive back at the lodgings somewhat inebriated in the dark of the night. Engine crews on call I understand would stay at the hotel or lodging house across Prospect street (not modeled) from the section house.

The color of the garage in front of the section house needs toning down to a lighter grey with more aging. 

In the background you see more ground painted the ivory color and a new mockup of the now 75 foot turntable.  It should be 70 feet in length but is 75 feet to match the geometry of the tracks and stalls of the Banta round house kit. 

I still need to build the two mainlines and the siding by the strait so everything is removable so I can access the rear of the layout. I am not very disciplined and work on what interests me most and I like structures and details. I need to finish and ballast the mainline trackage and rear siding trackage soon but I like to model or play with the foreground structures and scenic features. 

Monday, February 1, 2021

Freight House and Station Platform Progress

I have been working on the station-freight house-section house area with the umpteenth attempt to get the ground profile between the freight house and the section house right. I am not really there yet but getting closer. 

Note that closer examination of photos of the section house from 1962 when the yard was being torn out showed that I needed to build a cutout to the kitchen/garage part of the building with sloping stairs down to the ground behind the station which is at freight platform level (4 feet above track level).  As part of this effort I built the rest of the freight platform and the ramp down to track/ground level. This is on my workbench with a mockup of the station building wall.

This is a view showing the freight house and freight platform on the layout and a comparison to a photo from Bob Morris's Port Costa collection. The station is another mockup stand in I have been using for almost a year to get the right windows Tichy and Grandt line windows to fit the prototype.  The corrugated shed at right is still a crude representation but the sand house behind is now painted. 
I still need the finial for the freight house and one to go on the end of the station building. Ballasting will not be completed until the mainline tracks have been laid and ballasted along with most of the details out to the waters of the Carquinez strait. Until then all structures and land forms remain removable.  The stake bed truck is actually an inexpensive Oxford  4 mm scale coal merchant Bedford model. English prototypes are small enough that they don't look too out of place.

This is an overall view of most of the layout.  
Note the mirror behind so I have a reversed view from the other direction. 

Also the M-4 2-6-0 1685 now has a working TCS KA2 and glides through turnouts nicely so it can be used for switching Port Costa. I recently came across a 1950 photo of 1685 at Gerber working the west line up the Sacramento Valley with an identical R-90-7 tender. The 2-6-0 M-4 is an IHC plastic RTR from the 1990's that has been modified a bit. I doubt I will find a painted, DCC wired affordable brass M-6 anywhere soon. 

I need to look at long last at building the turntable pit and bridge. On this small layout it will be mostly cosmetic and hand operated. At least I should paint the plastic disk that represents the turntable a concrete grey.  I have also started building part of the forest of poles that carried steam lines to buildings from the roundhouse boiler, sand lines from the sand house and a huge web of telephone and telegraph wires.